Monday, March 3, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths

Title:  The Collector of Dying Breaths
Author:  M J Rose
Publication Information:  Atria Books. 2014. 384 pages.
ISBN: 1451621531 / 978-1451621532

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "There are more questions in the world than answers. A wise man once said you have to live the questions and then one day you might live your way to into the answers. It's how I've conducted my life. Magic is real, my dear. Just watch a tree grow."

The Collector of Dying Breaths is part history, part romance, and part adventure. The book proceeds in two time periods - current day and the court of Catherine de' Medici, who was the queen of France in the 1500s.

In the 1500s, Catherine de' Medici's power in increasing as are the intrigues of the court and the threats to her power. René Le Florentin is her perfumer and her confidant. She saved him from almost certain death at the monastery where he was left as an orphan. He brings with him the secrets of the monks in making beautiful perfumes and other potions designed to accomplish more sinister objectives.

He also carries with him his mentor's secret project - research into capturing the final breath of someone dying and then finding an elixir that will enable that breath to find new life. How far will Rene Le Florentin go to serve his queen? How far will the queen go to ensure her power?

In present day, Jac L'Eoile is recovering from her brother's death and still coming to accept the fact that she has memories of her past lives. Her family has long created and sold perfumes. She has paved her own way in an entirely different field of work. Upon her brother's death, she comes to find that her brother was working on a project for the wealthy Melinoe Cypros.

The project involves sixteenth century artifacts and the ability to give new life to someone who has died. Melinoe Cypros has bought the house and the lab that once belonged to René Le Florentin. Melinoe's objective is to see his work on the "dying breaths" completed for her own purposes. Will Jac finish what her brother started? How far Melinoe Cypros go to ensure that she gets what she wants?

Thus goes the story, back and forth between the two time periods - each with their own intrigue and each with their own love story. René and Isabeau. Jac and Griffin.

The Collector of Dying Breaths is part of a series of books. It is in fact the sixth book in the Reincarnationist series. I did not realize that before I read the book. I also did not realize that I have read The Book of Lost Fragrances, which is book 4 in the series a couple of years ago. That being said, the books really do stand alone and can be read without having read the others.

The history in this book is intriguing. The romance adds interest. The adventure makes it a fast paced story. The environment of René le Florentin's estate add a Gothic element. All components of a successful book. What makes the book less successful for me was the interjection of physical descriptions of the "flowing juices" of life. I felt that those were unnecessary and distracted from book. Other than that, a light, quick, and enjoyable read.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to talk to you.

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